Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A772-W490

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A772-W490


Release Date: July 27, 2013



Topic: The Trial of Bo Xilai -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:审判薄熙来 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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The Trial of Bo Xilai

-- Wei Jingsheng



Yesterday I was in the online chatrooms with many Internet users in China.  I noticed that people are all very concerned about the trial of Bo Xilai.  Because of their differing points of view, some Internet friends almost had a quarrel against each other.


However, I feel the kind of person Bo Xilai was is not the most important issue.  Since it is a trial of him, we need to be concerned that this trial is fair.  Most of the news and information coming out of this trial is that it is a politically motivated trial.  That is because Bo lost his political power, or, using the words of the Chinese Communists, "he has made political mistakes", thus he is detained and put on trial.  Of course, this kind of trials would not be fair.


There is a consensus among the modern international circles now.  That is that different political views and ideologies do not constitute criminal behavior.  The famous Amnesty International calls for the release of all political prisoners and is against imprisonment of political prisoners.  This attitude is the product of the modern civilization.


Why shouldn't politics be criminal itself?  No political behavior constitutes conducting crime in and of itself.  The basic concept of crime is harming the physical bodies or interests of others for personal benefit.  Of course, there are many criteria, restrictions, and exceptions, such as action in self-defense does not constitute a crime.


As we all know any political actions and thoughts are initiated from the interests of the people and society.  We may comment on which thought is wrong, and what policy will bring disaster.  With this kind of criticism and controversy, social order will go in the better direction.  If expressing one's views, or implementing one's own ideas constitutes a crime, who would dare to speak?


If we are afraid of speaking because we could be criminalized as a result, the society would soon fall into reticence.  A taciturn society naturally cannot tell right from wrong.  A society that cannot tell right from wrong will inevitably slide into chaos and without order.  All so-called chaos in the society is produced thus.


Therefore, without being allowed to say something wrong, the right words will be difficult to produce and disseminate.  Fallacies and wrong political behavior will spread; society will be chaotic and disorderly.  Such a situation is the real chaos in our society.  Therefore, the protection of freedom of speech is to protect the rights of people to say something that might be wrong.  Without the right to say something that might be wrong, there will be no right to say something right.  When we all lose our rights of speech, it is impossible to correct the political mistakes.  This is exactly the hotbed for the authoritarian politics.


What is a political prisoner?  I encountered one peasant in prison without much education.  However, inadvertently he uttered a very precise standard.  He said: "We are criminals who harm the others for our own interests; yet you political prisoners hurt yourself for the benefit of others."  At least in the authoritarian political system, this standard is very accurate.


When we, known as political dissidents, are detained, of course we are the standard political prisoners.  But think about it more carefully, were Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping detained during Mao Zedong's era as political prisoners?  Did they offend Mao for their own interests?  Their political behavior may include their own fame and fortune, but their behavior was still primarily for the public and society rather than for their own benefit.  Putting them in jail as criminals of course was not fair.


Now Chen Liangyu (the Shanghai Mayor who fell out of favor in 2006 and is serving 18 years due to political reasons) and Bo Xilai are in the same situation.  One may firmly oppose their political behavior, yet any political act should not constitute a crime.  During the Mao Zedong era, it was through putting down and detaining political prisoners like Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping that ultimately Mao Zedong and his cabal realized a dictatorial rule.


Does the leadership group of Xi Jinping now have the goal to be the Mao Zedong II?  As yet we have not seen it.  But many things could not be done in the way one originally thought.  Instead, the prominent trend of circumstance will push one to do something different.  The initial goal may not reach one's imagination, yet one's action will produce inevitable results according to its own rule.  As the Chinese saying goes, you reap what you sow.  When one plants a seed of dictatorship, how could it be possible to bear other fruits?


Bo Xilai's "sing praises for the red and hit the black society" movement was resolutely opposed by most Chinese.  Then, all that needed to be done was to oust him from his post.  Is it necessary to put him in jail as political prisoner?  Political issues should be resolved politically.  Using judicial means to solve political problems, by historical experience is for sure bound toward dictatorship.  The old tradition of the Communist Party was to use anti-corruption as a means of political struggle.  The result is that it not only strengthened the autocracy, its anti-corruption made corruption even worse, to the degree of being widespread like flood now.


Some friends will say Bo Xilai was as strong as a prince so it would be hard to make him step down unless there are extraordinary measures.  Just like in the old drama of the emperors' palaces, otherwise he would rebel.  But I want to ask these friends, why aren't  the United States, the United Kingdom, etc. worried about rebellion of the politicians?  In a democratic system, politics is politics.  People can use the normal way for political struggle, instead of adopting the so-called extraordinary measures.


In a democratic country, people do not have to worry about "wiping out all the 9 kinships" like what happened in ancient China due in political struggles.  Neither do they have to be worried about going to jail because something they said was wrong.  This kind of political environment ensures a variety of views to be presented for political change, while various policies can be used to test directions.  People can adopt the right advice for the best results, while minimizing the losses due to the wrong policy.  Although the wisdom of other people may not necessarily be higher than that of the Chinese, in comparison to the authoritarian regime in China their overall effect is indeed much better.


Since the case of Bo Xilai has degenerated into a political case, then his wrong policy has reduced to a secondary important pair of contradictions.  The main issue of this case is that do we oppose the trial of political prisoners?  Do we want to give up the principle of the long-term goal, in an effort to solve the issue right in front of us?  The better principle is to use political means to solve political issues, instead of using judicial means to solve political differences.  When we turn a political struggle into a judicial issue, then we will see tyranny for sure and the society is bound to chaos.


To give up the principle for petty interest will result in an even higher price.  To put one Chen Liangyu or one Bo Xilai on trial will only solve a small issue.  However, from this point on producing the second Mao Zedong will be a huge disaster for the Chinese people.



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's related commentary, please visit:



(Written and recorded on July 26, 2013.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A772-W490

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A772-W490


Release Date: July 27, 2013



Topic: The Trial of Bo Xilai -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:审判薄熙来 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 魏京生













































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